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Why Families Love Holidays in Dorset

Written by Betheny Ellis on

Five children sitting on the white sand of a Dorset beach

Families love holidays in Dorset and many return year after year, simply because there are so many wonderful things to do. From water sports and fossil hunting to excellent beaches and stunning heritage sites, here are just a few of the things your family can enjoy during a visit to Dorset:

Water sports aplenty

Active families can enjoy Dorset’s wonderful coastline by taking one of the many opportunities to get involved in water sports while on holiday. All along this stretch of coast there are numerous specialist companies who offer coaching, guiding and hiring services for a wide range of water-based activities for beginners right up to advanced. In sheltered Poole Harbour there is no shortage of companies offering to teach sailing and windsurfing, while around Swanage holidaymakers can try climbing, coasteering, raft building and paddle boarding among other things. Regular RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) rides leave Lulworth Cove in the summer, while sea kayaking and diving are popular pursuits in Weymouth.

Fossil hunting fun

It’s impossible to talk about family holidays in Dorset without mentioning the joy of a family day out fossil hunting on its famous Jurassic Coast. Most children are fascinated by dinosaurs and fossils, so why not join the little ones and look for these wonderful souvenirs of your holiday? The most popular beaches are Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Seatown, but there are plenty of lesser known locations to try far from the madding crowd.  A visit to the Dinosaurland Fossil Museum in Lyme Regis – packed full with geological wonders – is a recommended to learn more about the prehistoric age.    

Top beaches

Families love a beach and in Dorset you are spoilt for choice. At popular resorts like Bournemouth, Swanage and Weymouth there are wonderful sandy beaches plus all the traditional extras – ice creams, deck chairs etc. If you like your beach a bit wilder, head for Seatown under Golden Gap, the sandy heathland at the Arne RSPB reserve or Studland Beach with its dunes and nature walks. Other popular beaches include Durdle Door and neighbouring Man O' War beach.

Wonderful wildlife

Families love to experience and learn about nature together, and there are lots of places to visit in Dorset that will give you the chance to do just that. There are eleven National Nature Reserves to visit in the county including Durlston Country Park near Swanage, renowned for its seabirds, and Morden Bog close to Wareham, noted for its reptiles. Poole Harbour attracts bird lovers who flock to see avocets congregating here during their migration. Located in the harbour is Brownsea Island, which is accessible by boat and home to one of the last remaining colonies of red squirrels in England.

Heritage galore

There is much of historical and artistic interest in Dorset that families can enjoy and learn about during their stay. The iconic Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck has 1,000 years of history from its construction by William the Conqueror to its partial destruction by parliamentarians after the Civil War. The stunning Maiden Castle near Dorchester, now looked after by English Heritage is all that remains of one of largest and most complex Iron Age hill forts in Europe. In Dorchester itself is Max Gate – home to Dorset’s most famous writer Thomas Hardy. The property is now owned by the National Trust and furnished as it would have been during Hardy’s time. The gardens are also worth visiting and great for children to explore. 

Betheny Ellis

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